You have planned your safari for many months now and you are waiting impatiently to meet your first lion and find the Big5. You are all ready to fly to Africa and keep checking that you are not forgetting anything, but are you ready for your very first safari?
You don’t want to miss anything because you forgot your sunglasses or decided to skip that early morning drive, you do not want, either, to come back without any memories.
That’s why we compiled the best advice from years of experiences for you to get the most out of your safari experience. We asked our guides and guests, and looked back on our own game drives to give you top tips for an unforgettable safari.
Be ready, it seems to be the most obvious advice but, really, going on a safari is not like getting ready for a beach trip. In order to enjoy it, follow our list of what to pack for a safari. And keep in mind that the one thing you must not forget is… glasses, sunglasses and eventually binoculars. Animals can be quite far or hidden in the grass during the rainy season and you don’t want to mistake a leopard for a tree stump!
To make sure you’re ready, set up a list of items not to forget: camera, external batteries and chargers, adapted clothes, books and music (when poolside), mosquito repellent and anything else you can think of.
Being ready also means that you know where you are going, in order not to be disappointed do some research. If you really want to see the Big5 or if you are keen on observing birds you may not choose the same safari option. Don’t hesitate to ask us any question to make sure that you are picking the safari of your dreams!
Listen to your guide
Well, that one also seems to go without saying, but your safari guide is the key to a successful trip! He is an expert in wildlife, knows where animals hide, where they feed and what you should/ shouldn’t do so… follow his advice! Especially if he asks you to lower your voice or stay in the vehicle, there are reasons. Your safety is one of them (no, being hurt by an elephant is not getting the most out of your safari), but the animals can also be frightened by human voices or sudden movement. It would really be a pity to lose the opportunity to observe this elephant and its calf because of a cry of surprise when you located them!
You should also listen to your guide when he says there’s an early game drive… because you don’t want to miss the lions at sunrise because you preferred to stay sleeping. Your guide knows when animals are out and that’s why you’ll have to get up early… but we swear it’s worth it and you’ll have plenty of time to rest between two game drives.
Last but not least, listen to your guide when he talks about animals, trees or history, it is another way to get the most out of your safari. Don’t hesitate to tell him what you’d like to see and ask him questions. He’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you!
Take photos but…
Going on a safari is a once in a lifetime experience and you want to keep memories to share it with your family and friends. Bring a good camera with a zoom lens to have great pictures of this moment. Remember that everything can go very fast while on a safari, get your camera ready and use pre-settings, so not to spend the 30 seconds the elephant took crossing the road trying to figure out how your camera works.
You might take thousands and thousands of pictures, don’t forget to bring additional memory cards or a computer where you’ll store your pictures and films. Think of the extra batteries as well because the power cuts are quite common in the bush.
Open your eyes and listen to nature
Take pictures but remember to put down the camera sometimes and to admire, listen and feel the bush around you. Enjoy your safari with your eyes and capture the moment. A safari is not only about spotting animals, close your eyes and listen to the incredible sound of the nature, observe the trees and the sky, talk with your guide and discover the people you are sharing this moment with, this is part of the experience!
Take it slow
African bush life is slow, and your guide will make the most out of it but sometimes you will drive for hours without seeing any animals. Be patient, the unexpected can happen any time. Don’t rush your guide, if there’s something you really don’t want to miss, tell him and he’ll do his best to make it happen.
Keep in mind, you’re on holidays, forget the rush rhythm of the city and get into the African vibes.